It's time we face facts, people: there will never be an Evil Dead 4. I know, I know - I wanted to believe it, too. Every single time Sam Raimi or Bruce Campbell so much as mentioned the words 'Ash' or 'deadites', or anything even remotely related to the vaguest possibility of more blood-drenched mayhem with Ashley J. Williams, me and every other fanboy out there in the world sucked in our breath. Maybe in some alternate universe, some Earth 2 somewhere, Sam Raimi never made Spider-Man and he did end up making an Evil Dead 4. As it stands, though, we never did get one, and no matter how often Raimi and Bruce casually shrug off and give us some comment about people still thinking about it sometimes, we probably won't ever get it. Make peace with that now, and let's move on.
I remember the first time I watched Bruce Campbell, blasting deadites in the head with a shotgun while rattling off snappy one-liners. I was probably like, thirteen or so, and my friend rented it one night when I slept over. See, this was back in the day when Blockbuster reigned supreme (at least as far as video rental went). As a kid, you could wander the aisles and see some seriously scary shit on the covers of some of the VHS's on the shelves. One in particular that I remember always seeing was Army of Darkness, although at the time I had no idea what it was called. All I knew was that it was that movie with the fucked up looking cover, with that guy with the chainsaw and stuff.
Seriously, look at that. This muscular hero with a dashing smile, a chainsaw for a hand, and a beautiful lady gripping his leg. Then there were those skeleton guys climbing up to him, with their swords and shit. Not to mention the fucked up demonic army in the background. What the hell was that all about? Then there were the tiny men, these little bastards at the heroes feet, trying to set his foot on fire. As a kid, all of this was like, "Je-sus...."
Anyway, my buddy had noticed the cover on his trips to Blockbuster like me, and decided it might be fun to check out. We expected monsters and maybe some boobs. We did not expect this awesome, ass-kicking hero played by Bruce Campbell. This guy who didn't run from the monsters, or show any fear - he made fun of them, then blasted them with a shotgun. That was a completely new concept to me, and has remained one of my favorite character archetypes since. The Hellboy, the Buffy Summers - the hero who fought monsters and made jokes.
Now, the fandom had long wanted a fourth entry into the franchise. See, Evil Dead fans are of the cult variety. A small collection of the public in the long run, yes, but none in the fan community are quiet as passionate about what they hold dear. Those of us who cheerlead the likes of Firefly, or Fringe, or Freaks and Geeks feel this protective instinct toward what we love. We see it as an unappreciated genius, with it our soul honor and duty to preserve it's memory, to keep it alive and safe until the rest of the world finally notices it the way we did. It takes a very dedicated bunch to have that kind of affection for, well, anything. So you can imagine the outrage when it was announced we would be given not a sequel, but a remake. I'll spare you the specifics if you don't already know, but let's just say it was not met with enthusiasm.
People tend to hate remakes. Most of us just look at them with a persevering cynicism about the whole idea. "Why can't Hollywood come up with any new ideas?", "It will never be as good as the original", or "Didn't the last one just come out like, six years ago?" Even if they could have given a shit about the original flavor, nobody greets the idea of a new and improved version with much enthusiasm. Usually because they notably are not improvements, with many of them failing to understand what made the original so endearing, or twisting it so much to fit with today's audiences, it's very soul had been lost. At worst, people look at remakes as an insult, a big middle finger to the original fanbase that "Fuck you, this is the new version and if you don't like it, tough".
Then came the trailer, and.... well, take a look.
Okay, keep in mind this is the redband which just dropped a few weeks ago, but still HOLY SHIT. I mean that has to get you at least a little excited. Call me naive, but I get a bit psyched watching this. It FEELS like Evil Dead - the deadite POV shot, the angry molesting tree, the chick looking up out of the cellar door. God, it just makes me wanna pop in my VHS of Evil Dead 2 right now. Only I don't, because who the hell owns a VHS player anymore? Still, every time I see it, I find I like what I see more and more.
A trailer can be misleading, though. I think we've all seen that a bunch of times in the past, right? After all, a complete shit show can look like the next Return of the King if you just know how to edit about two minutes of it together into something passably intense. Besides what we see here, there isn't much other information about the film to go off of. Like, at all. Even the director and cast are mostly unknown faces Funny story, actually; I almost saw them all at this years New York Comic-Con, only I didn't arrive early enough to get a decent spot in line due to a slight case of sleeping in.
There's Jane Levy, who plays Mia. She's uh, been in Shameless, I guess, which I've heard about before. Shiloh Fernandez plays David, and this guy would probably be easier to recognize for some amongst the audience. He's been in stuff like Jericho, Gossip Girl, United States of Tara, unfortunately Little Red Riding Hood, so make your own opinions on that guys choice in work. Jessica Lucas is also in it, as Olivia. She was in Cloverfield, and basically nothing else. Playing the character of Eric we have Lou Taylor Pucci. He is credited on IMDB as being Boba Fett #1 in Fanboys - wait, did that ever come out? Anyway, rounding off the cast is Elizabet Blackmore , as Natalie, and.... um, she hasn't really done anything.
I almost forgot to mention our director and writer: Fede Alvarez, the man who brought us.... uh, El Conjundo? Actually, I've never heard of the guy, or anything he's done. That's probably because up until now, he's only written and directed a few Spanish short films. This would be his first feature. Still, Spanish seems good. Spanish folks make awesome horror all the time. Just look at Guirelmo del Toro, or whoever it was that directed The Orphanage.
Okay, so we've got a pretty unknown cast, a director I've never heard of. Guess it's pretty hard to say what to expect out of that. I mean, at least maybe if we had some big names in there, recognizable ones, we could gage what kind of flick we were in for. Personally, I think that's a good thing. Look, I love the original just as much as anyone else, but let's be real here, it's not some untouchable fucking work of genius. It was Sam Raimi and his friends, in a cabin, drenching each other with fake blood and stringing it together with hammy effects. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just that what he made was fun and I love it, but that doesn't mean it was like, the perfect movie ever made.
As a matter of fact, you know what? I have high hopes for this movie. Yeah, I'll admit it. I think Evil Dead could be fucking awesome. For one thing, you can tell it's got the spirit, and that's what really counts. It really seems to understand the original movie, as far as the atmosphere and presentation go. It's grungy looking, and creepy, and holy shit is that a lot of blood.
I say they deserve credit right up front on the grounds that they did not compromise themselves for a PG-13. This is an R, and that's the way it should be, damn it. Not to mention the deadites, man. I mean, they LOOK and ACT like total deadites If there's one thing horror movies need these days, it's more deadites.
But you know why I think this movie will REALLY succeed? Because there is no Ash in it. I would love to see Ash again - the real Ash, not some new guy trying to be Ash. What I want is Bruce Campbell, running around with a shotgun and chainsaw strapped to his arm. When news dropped that there would be a remake, that was the big question immediately had, was what would become of the character Ash. Dropping the idea entirely was probably the smartest thing they could have done. It would have been too distracting, constantly trying to embrace this new guy as a character we had all loved for so long. That right there already shows they're thinking pretty clearly. Besides, it looks like they're obviously going for the straight-up gory, horror-fest of the original movie and none of the camp and comedy of the sequels. That being the case, I doubt an Ash character would fit very well.
So that's my two cents, guys and gals, for what it's worth. Am I right, will Evil Dead be one of those magical remakes that ends up being just as good, if not better than, it's original source material? Will find out, I guess, when the flick hits theatres. Until then, shop smart. Shop S-Mart.